No matter who you are and where you come from, you have something in common with the rest of the human race. We’re all searching for happiness. Though some find it through hard work and others through family, what’s common to all of us is that we can reach happiness by working on our minds and spirits. The number one condition for a healthy mind is a healthy body, though.
No matter how high up on the evolutionary ladder we are, we are still ruled by our bodies. How we treat the body greatly affects how we think and how spirited are we. “Your body is a temple” might be a cliché, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Those who neglect to worship their personal temples will never achieve the mental and emotional stability they crave. Building a path to that stability is hard work and it starts with how you handle your body.
It’s time to stop making excuses and neglecting yourself for the sake of others, your schedule, or something else entirely irrelevant. You deserve to be happy and set free. The only way to do that is to blossom from a little bud to a beautiful flower.
1. Sticking to people who make you feel good
Sometimes, it’s the other way around. To create a healthy body, you must create a healthy mind first. In this case, sticking to the people who make you feel warm and fuzzy is definitely a good choice. Aside from relaxing you mentally, being with those you like lowers your stress levels and makes you more comfortable, too.
Just a cup of coffee with a close friend or lunch with your family can make you feel like your old self. Don’t skip on that drink with friends or that movie night with your significant other just because you think you have too much work. In fact, taking a break to hang out with those you love can only make you more productive.
One of the people to make you feel good should definitely be you. Spending quality time with yourself is imperative for good mental and emotional health. Getting to know yourself better and having a moment of peace with just you can also lower anxiety and generally make it easier for your body to do its job. If you don’t know how to spend time with yourself, try different hobbies and see what sticks. Eventually, you’ll find just the activity that will give you valuable insight into who you are as a person.
2. Self-care rituals
Taking care of your body and mind sometimes means pampering yourself. Eating right and exercising definitely helps, but sometimes all you need is a hot bath and a skincare ritual to feel good about yourself again. Self-care also shows you that you’re putting yourself first. Though this sounds very logical, it’s an easy lesson to forget – especially when your schedule buries you and everything seems more important than you.
Self-care can also be good for your skin. Soaking a towel in hot water and dabbing it on your body thoroughly twice a day, for example, can be exceptionally relaxing but also useful for getting rid of dead skin. In turn, your skin will look much younger and you’ll feel better more capable to take on the world.
Don’t forget about your hair and face, either. Homemade masks only take up a fraction of your time to make but can be just what you need to see your beauty once more. Home spa days end up bringing you closer to yourself and resting your body the right way – two things you definitely need if you want mental and emotional stability.
3. Avoiding junk food
Junk food is also commonly referred to as comfort food, and that’s not without a reason. When we’ve had a bad day or are mentally tired, we’re always going to crave junk food rather than something healthy. The effect only increases if we’ve been skipping meals.
This is because junk food is very easy to digest. Our stomach just wants something to digest and it wants it now. Healthy food is full of nutrients and vitamins that your body needs to process, whereas junk food can be digested right away. The only thing it does is offset the production of happy chemicals, as sugar generally makes us feel nice.
Therefore, your body is just craving an easy and short-term fix for feeling bad. Instead of giving in, recognize these cravings as something bad, and opt for a healthy snack. This is all easier said than done, of course, but with a lot of work and effort, you can have the stable mental health you desire through the food you put into your body.
Healthy food will also trigger serotonin and dopamine, but it will just take your body a little longer to get there. The effects will last a lot longer, though.
As well as all of this, you’ll feel physically stronger and healthier. You’ll also have more energy as healthy food doesn’t sedate you, and you’ll actually be giving yourself the proper brainpower to deal with everyday life.
4. Staying hydrated
Hydration is a huge factor for both physical and mental health. We all know that staying hydrated is important, but few realize what the phrase actually means. Those who drink fizzy and soft drinks for hydration aren’t actually doing anything but introducing more sugar and empty calories to their system.
Water (and natural fruit juices) is the only way to actually stay hydrated. The tasteless liquid is needed to keep your body a well-oiled machine. With enough water in you, the body is able to keep functioning like a well-oiled machine. Your inner organs are getting the support they need, which allows them to work at optimal levels.
Water also does wonder for your skin and clears up acne and blemishes, as well as making you look younger and practically erasing the bags under your eyes. The tasteless quality of water is enough to send many chasing down the delicious sugary sodas, though.
If you’re a soda drinker who realizes this habit leads nowhere, you can try switching to water gradually. As well as completely getting rid of the sodas and soft drinks in your home, you can infuse your water with something healthy. For example, you can fill a bottle with water and mind. Leave the mix in the fridge for a while and enjoy a refreshing mint water drink in a hot summer afternoon. The same can be done with lemon.
Finally, let’s not forget that water makes you more energized and generally allows your body to take care of your mind by working at optimal levels.
If you want to feel good about yourself through and through, you definitely need to start exercising. Being too busy to work out simply won’t fly anymore. If you care about yourself, you’ll make it a priority. Implementing exercise to your schedule will be hard in the beginning, especially if you’ve never had an exercise routine before, but it’s doable and necessary.
The most important thing is to start slow and pace yourself. You can do this by completing easy exercises at home, joining Yoga or Pilates classes, or hiring a personal trainer. This way, you’ll get familiar with your body’s limits and you’ll know where to take it from there.
For the moment, you don’t have to have a defined fitness goal in your mind. When you start feeling the benefits of working out, you’ll know whether you want to take it to the next level or whether you want to keep exercising just for fun.
Remember that exercising isn’t only about sweating. Physical exhaustion is a good kind of exhaustion because it releases happy hormones and makes you feel like you’re doing something good for yourself (which you are). Exercising will also boost your energy levels after a while and generally make you a more positive person.
It will also be much easier to work through negative emotions as you’ll have a positive outlet. On the same note, you’ll finally get to say goodbye to stress.
6. Never skip breakfast
One other thing we always forget when it comes to nutrition is breakfast. It seems that there’s time for everything in your morning routine aside from actually sitting down and eating. Going about your day without fueling your body first is like starting a car with an empty gas tank. You might not feel the effects at first, but you’re definitely affecting your health by not eating in the morning.
This action directly makes your body tap into emergency resources for food and nutrients. Keeping your stomach empty also means that you won’t feel as awake and that your brain won’t be functioning at maximum capacity.
Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but it definitely doesn’t have to be complex or complicated. There’s no need for elaborate recipes. If you’re not someone who’s used to having breakfast, try drinking a cup of yoghurt each morning just to get your stomach and body running.
Nutritious organic oats can also be an option. Organic oats are a perfect way to start your day because they’re not hard on the stomach, but they give you the fibre and energy you need. As well as that, oats stabilize your blood pressure. Other health benefits include improved circulation and reduced LDL cholesterol. As well as that, regularly eating oats can regulate your digestive system, making things much easier on your stomach.
Oats are also the ideal option for those not used to eating in the morning, as you won’t even feel like you’re actually eating. The bland and soft nature of the oats won’t upset your stomach, either.
Finally, what your body needs most of all if you’re an active individual is rest. No matter how long you think you can keep going, your stamina is going to be cut in half if you don’t pace yourself. Your body wasn’t built to just work and do things- it also needs time to recharge.
Getting your sleep schedule in order should, therefore, be a priority. If you have trouble falling asleep at a decent hour, you should start fixing your sleep schedule by going to bed an hour earlier each night. This way, you’ll gradually teach your body that bedtime is now at 10 pm instead of 3 am, for example. Of course, take this process as slowly as you need to- “each night” could easily be switched to “each week.”
As well as sleeping, remember to rest your body every time you feel like you need to. This goes for chilling after a long day at work as much as it does for letting injuries fully heal. If you genuinely care for your own well-being, you’ll let your body heal the only way it knows how- with time.
Being well-rested makes you feel more energized, but it also improves your cognitive function. Enough sleep is necessary for your emotional health, too. When we’re sleep-deprived, we’re more irritable and our problems tend to seem bigger than they actually are. Getting stuck in mental loops can also be a problem.
The journey you’re about to embark will be a hard and challenging one. You’ll have a lot to deal with along the way, but the rewards will also be enormous. By getting to know your own body and taking care of it, you’re also getting to know more of yourself.
In turn, you’ll be more in tune with what you need to be happy, you’ll understand how the world around you affects you better, and you’ll know how to react appropriately in every situation. It may sound impossible, but it all starts with your body. The sleep, exercise, and proper food you get will all improve your cognitive function, make you more energized, and make you more perceptive. We’re positive your journey to finding happiness will be fruitful.
Image courtesy of Jacob Postuma.